— Bill Wendel (@RealEstateCafe) August 17, 2016
There’s been a flurry of more than 30 comments on @NextDoor following a recent Cambridge City Council meeting on affordable housing. Mine is shown below. Want to share yours offline tonight at #REonTap? Let’s meet at the Podcast Garage where we’re learning to expand our voice and invite yours as well. If you can’t attend, you can still reply to the conversation starter below:
Robert, I like your question: What would you like (data) to prove? My hypothesis is that the globalization of real estate = supply of affordable units going in reverse in Cambridge. Consider these bullet points:
1. Price is not the sole measure of affordability, ask anyone who’s been told they need to pay $100K/+ over asking price to win a bidding war in Cambridge (ironic for a city with its own Peace Commission);
2. While Cambridge has added nearly 1,000 affordable units; how many others have been extracted from the existing housing stock by investors — foreign or domestic; short-term rental (like @AirBnB) or crowdfunded pools looking to maximize long-term rents? Marc McGovern & Robert Winters, my guess is that the number FAR exceeds the 200 affordable ownership units added since 1998.
3. Other cities including Vancouver are responding with innovative solutions:
3.1 Regulating the BLIND bidding process used by real estate agents to increase transparency, and
3.2 Taxing foreign buyers 15% on top of their purchase price. That’s calmed demand from #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders and put downward pressure on prices.
With blogs on Forbes & Financial Times hyping Cambridge real estate as a great investment:
… time we also explore emergency regulations to protect the “Common Good” from multiple perspectives: existing residents who’d like to downsize but can’t find anything affordable, businesses who’d like to attract employees put off by housing costs, and our adult children who’ve been priced out of Cambridge?
Historical overview of bidding wars available on http://bit.ly/unFoldBidWars